Brussels is often overlooked by travelers when visiting Western Europe. Known as the Capital of Europe, most traveler would either allocate only one day there or completely skip the city altogether in favour for a longer time in Amsterdam or Paris. This is unfortunate as Brussels is a unique city with plenty to offer. Our first impression upon arriving in Brussels was how industrial the place seems to be. However, the longer we stayed, the more we are in awe of this beautiful city, great history, fantastic food and super fun people. Here are the Top 5 things to see in Brussels:
The Atomium is our personal favourite things to see attraction in Brussels. Simply because we have not seen anything like it before, and have not seen anything like it since. The Atomium was originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels World Fair. Made out of stainless steel, this structure depicts nine iron atoms in the shape of the body-centered cubic unit cell of an iron crystal, magnified 165 billion times. Often features in ‘most bizarre’ structure list, this Brussels icon is a must see for everyone.
Tip : Check out the stunning panoramic view of Brussels from the structure’s platform.
The Grand Place or Grote Markt is the central square of Brussels. A major tourist attraction, the Grand Place Square houses various buildings such as the Town Hall, the Kings House as well as the Maison du Roi. UNESCO World Heritage-listed, The Grand Place is absolutely stunning at sunset and at night.
Tip: Every 2 years in August, the Flower Carpet even takes place at the Grand Place. This is an event where volunteers weave a tapestry using colorful flowers (mostly Begonias). The next flower carpet event will be from 14-19 August 2019. For more information, check out the Flower Carpet Website.
Located only 5 minutes walk from the Grand Place, the Manneken Pis is a small bronze statue of a peeing boy into a fountain. The people of Belgium speaks so fondly of this statue and would sometime dress this statue with cute outfits. The Manneken Pis truly is a symbol that reminds us of the Belgian’s sense of humour (zwanze).
Tip: There is also a less known Jeanneke Pis Statue close by!
Cathedral of St Michael & St. Gudula
You will visit plenty of churches and Gothic architecture in Europe. But the hauntingly beautiful Cathedral of St Michael & St. Gudula made our top 5 things to see list as it is special. This cathedral is a Roman Catholic Church located at the Treurenberg Hill less than 1 km from the Grand-Place. Getting up to the Hill can be a bit of a hike, but we promise you it will be worth it. This Gothic church is simple with stunning architecture. You cant help but to be drawn to the church’s column and arches. On top of that, enjoy the view of Brussels from the Cathedral.
Trivia : Victor Hugo described this building as the “purest flowering of the Gothic style.”
The Belgian Comic Strip Center
The Belgian Comic Strip Center is a treat for all comic lovers out there. Especially if you are a big fan of Tintin and the Smurfs. Check out the evolution of comics and comic books in Europe, the process of comic creation and gallery of original comic strips. To top it off, this museum also houses over 60,00 comic books and plenty of comics-related souvenirs for you to take home.
Tip: The Comic Strip Center museum is included in the list of museums and attractions within the Brussels Card